While acknowledging that Cole’s videos are certainly provocative, Thring argues that the RPSCA (the U.K.’s eighth-richest charity) “got Louis Cole wrong” in taking such legal action against him. From watching Cole’s videos and speaking to him a number of times, Thring says that he has “never seen any evidence that he wished to inflict cruelty on any animal”; he points out that “if you accept that it’s moral to eat another creature, then killing it is a necessary part of that process.” If Cole is accused of animal cruelty, should not anyone who eats animals?
What Do You Think About Cole’s “Antics”?
I do think Cole, whatever his original intentions with his Food for Louis videos, is raising some issues of pressing ethical importance. I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life and one reason I spurned eating meat was after learning about how livestock and other animals are treated and killed. But while Cole may not intend to inflict cruelty on the tarantulas, leeches and other animals he eats live, who can say they do not experience extreme terror to find themselves being broken, torn apart and who knows what else by his teeth? How dead were they when they went down his esophagus?
Cole’s “antics” in his videos are certainly sensationalistic. If he had just gone about eating spiders and such to answer his friends’ dares but not made all this public (and to the vast audience one can find online), it is arguable that he would never have been served with legal charges by the RPSCA. Surely Cole must have known — as, it can be said, did the artist Andres Serrano with his “Piss Christ” piece (in which a crucifix was placed in a vessel of his own urine) — that his videos are provocative?
Fame and infamy go hand in hand, one can say.
Is Cole guilty of animal cruelty simply by committing the acts he has in his videos? Was he “asking for it” by posting them? Now that he has made his point about the ethical issues of killing and eating animals, should he stop publicizing his “antics” and just stop them, period?
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